State of emergency lifted in Alberta

AB Yellowhead County July 10.19

Highway cut in half by floodwaters in Yellowhead County, AB, 10 July 2019 (Facebook)

Days of severe weather including heavy rain, thunderstorms, hail, tornadoes and flooding led officials in western Alberta to declare a state of emergency.

However, Yellowhead County (west of Edmonton) dropped the declaration on Wednesday when floodwaters receded.

Many roads had to be closed or were made impassable after flooding and drivers were being asked to obey any barriers in place.

Residents were being warned about possible contamination of their drinking water.

Yellowhead County officials say at least 25 homes were directly impacted by floodwaters.

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Hello Spring!

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Magnolia tree in bloom, downtown Moncton, spring 2018 (Dearing)

The spring equinox officially arrived at 6:58pm ADT in the Northern Hemisphere which marks the moment when the Sun is directly above the equator as it moves northward.

The length of days are now roughly equal to the length of nights and the amount of daylight will continue to increase until the first day of summer on June 21st.

To mark the end of astronomical winter, here are a few highlights across Canada from the last three months:

  • Record highs were set in Atlantic Canada just before Christmas with 12.8°C in Greater Moncton on 22 December.
  • Edmonton broke numerous cold records during February with readings as low as -41.2°C and all but four days were in the minus 20’s and 30’s.
  • Snowfall records fell in coastal British Columbia from 10-12 February with 69 cm in Nanaimo and 52 cm in Victoria – more than what is normally received in an entire winter season!

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Unbelievable cold in the West!

COLD

Thermometer reading near Edmonton where Celsius meets Fahrenheit, 05 Feb 2019 (Twitter)

An Arctic air mass has plunged much of Western Canada into the deep freeze with the coldest weather in nearly a decade.

Frigid temperatures have broken records in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia with the wind chill making it feel more like -50 in some areas!

Emergency responders had many calls related to frostbite and hypothermia with seniors and young children being especially vulnerable to the cold.

Auto clubs had almost ten times as many requests from drivers for dead car batteries.

These locations were among new minimums set on 05-06 February 2019:

Key Lake, SK
New record of -47.7
Old record of -44.0 set in 2007
Records started in 1976

Meadow Lake, SK
New record of -43.5
Old record of -41.0 set in 1979
Records started in 1959

Saskatoon, SK
New record of -42.5
Old record of -41.7 set in 1907
Records started in 1900

Grande Prairie, AB
New record of -41.5
Old record of -39.4 set in 1933
Records started in 1922

Edmonton International Airport, AB
New record of -41.2
Old record of -37.2 set in 1975
Records started in 1959

Jasper, AB
New record of -39.4
Old record of -35.7 set in 2014
Records started in 1916

Blue River, BC
New record -35.6
Old record -33.0 set in 1989

Lytton, BC
New record -17.4
Old record -17.2 set in 1949

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

White Christmas

While much of Canada is covered in white on this Christmas Day, many of the major cities are without a snow cover.

Only the Prairie cities of Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton were guaranteed a White Christmas.

Recent heavy rain and warm temperatures have erased the snow pack across Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and southern New Brunswick.

Traditionally Greater Moncton has a 65 percent chance of having a White Christmas.

Today, the airport recorded 3 cm of snow lying on the ground but much of the city and surrounding area have no snow cover at all.

September snow in Alberta!

Snow falls in Edmonton, AB, 12 Sept 2018 (Instagram)

Cold Arctic air has combined with moisture moving over the Rockies to give Alberta a taste of winter in late summer.

Forecasters say northern Alberta including Edmonton could receive at least 8 cm snow with up to 15 cm in Jasper.

Temperatures are hovering near or slightly below freezing with a plunge to -6°C in northern British Columbia.

Environment Canada says more seasonable weather is not expected to return until early next week.

Snow in Edmonton!

Snow falling in Edmonton, AB, 19 Sept 2017 (Dearing)


The northernmost city in North America with over one million residents had 5 cm of snow today. 

Edmonton had a winter-like day during the final days of summer when a cold rain turned white making highways slippery. 

Alberta weather can be highly variable given that on 07 September, the provincial capital climbed to 32.8 C – the warmest temperature so far this year. 

Environment Canada says the cold and snow will be short-lived with sunshine and daytime highs climbing to 16 C by the weekend. 

Heat warnings issued in the West

Heat west

Weather watches, warnings, statements re: heat and thunderstorms, 08 July 2017 (Environment Canada)

A strong ridge of high pressure over Western Canada has pushed the thermometer into record high territory for British Columbia and Alberta.

On 07 July, dozens of communities set new maximum temperatures with the highest at 39.4 C in Warfield and 38.3 C in Nelson but the hot spot in Canada was Garden River in northern Alberta at 40.3 C.

The major cities were warm too with Calgary reaching 33 C and Edmonton 30 C.

Heat warnings have been issued for most of Alberta and parts of Saskatchewan where temperatures will be near 29 C or higher for the next few days and residents are urged to take precautions.

Warm in west, chilly in east

nov05

Barren trees in Fairview Knoll Park, Moncton, 05 Nov 2016 (Dearing)


Most trees have now lost their leaves in Greater Moncton – with oak trees being the exception – and the starkness of November is settling in.

The thermometer dipped to a frosty -3.1 C yesterday morning which was the coldest low so far this fall and a chilly high of only 4.5 C.

It’s a different story in the Prairies and northwestern Ontario with record breaking warm temperatures climbing near 20 C which is well above normal.

Edmonton climbed to 20.6 C on Friday which was the warmest high ever for a November day in the Alberta capital.

Wildfires grow in northern Alberta

FtMcfire3

RCMP officer in burned neighbourhood of Fort McMurray, 05 May 2016 (Alberta RCMP)


Apart from RCMP officers on patrol, the city of Fort McMurray remains a ghost town after wildfires forced almost 90,000 residents to evacuate.

Thousands who fled north to oil sands camps found themselves stranded since Highway 63 is the only route south.

RCMP are leading vehicles in convoys heading south through empty and burned out areas of Fort McMurray to evacuation centres as far south as Edmonton.

Wildfires have grown to cover 1000 square kilometres of northern Alberta and officials say only rain and cooler conditions will help temper the flames.

Wildfire engulfs Fort McMurray

FtMcfire2

RCMP among few left in Fort McMurray enforcing evacuation, 04 May 2016 (RCMP/Twitter)

About 1,600 buildings have burned to the ground in Fort McMurray as a wildfire engulfed the southwest portion of the city late yesterday.

Alberta has declared a state of emergency as the government confirms many homes in the Beacon Hill and Waterways neighbourhoods have been destroyed.

The wildfire cut the city in two forcing 10,000 people to evacuate north to oil sands camps and at least 80,000 had to head south.

Traffic became gridlocked on Highway 63 as dozens of drivers abandoned their vehicles after breaking down or running out of gas.

Heading further south to Edmonton, drivers faced a slow, tense trip with bumper-to-bumper traffic and long lineups at the few gas stations available.

The military has been called in to help firefighters and hundreds of additional RCMP officers are being deployed to the region.